Friday, April 11, 2014

(NEW) Color Block Crescent & Vertical Rectangle Necklaces

I'm so excited to introduce the new necklace line for spring and summer! After a long, cold winter, I am more than ready to add a punch of color to my wardrobe and these color block necklaces are such a fun way to do that. 

There are two new designs- the Color Block Crescent and Vertical Rectangle. Both necklaces are available in two juicy color combinations- Mint Green/Bright Pear and Blood Orange/Peach Pink. The blood orange glaze is a new color and it's one of my all time favorites!

Per usual, each pottery piece is carefully cut from stoneware clay, hand textured, hand glazed, and fired to over 2100° F for lasting beauty and durability.

To celebrate the new line and the long anticipated arrival of spring(!), get free shipping on all jewelry purchases with coupon code SPRING2014, valid through Saturday, April 12 (midnight EST, U.S. customers only). View the entire NS Pottery jewelry line here.
Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Advertising Your Handmade Business

Running a handmade business is hard work and one of the most difficult things in the beginning stages (and beyond) is knowing how to get the word out. You already make awesome stuff, but how do you find the people who will want what you have to offer? How do you establish your brand and work with bloggers/social media gurus without getting taken advantage of? 

(1) Be Cautious With Your Cash- There are many options for advertising your business and I've found that often times, paying for advertising is not worth it. I'm not saying this is always a bad thing. I have done my share of blog sponsoring, etc. and have had some success, but generally, you shouldn't have to pay people to talk about you. They should like you and your product so much, they want to share about it! I know bloggers are trying to make a living too, but you can usually smell paid promotion from a mile away.

(2) Be Clear with Expectations- If you do decide to pay for promotion or give something away through someone else, be 100% clear with what you expect/what they are going to do for you. Don't be afraid to be specific or say "no" if you feel uncertain. Opportunities will keep coming and you can't participate in everything.

(3) Do Giveaways Sparingly- Giveaways can be a great way to create immediate "buzz" about your brand or a new product when done correctly, but many people enter simply for the chance to win free stuff and don't care about your brand. Mass giveaways with tons of product up for grabs leave a bad taste in my mouth. That is not the way to find people who will want to follow along with what you do. You will get lost in the shuffle. You will get "unfollowed" for months afterward. Trust me- it's not worth giving away your rad creations for (or worse yet, paying to give away your rad creations).

(4) Build Genuine Relations through Social Media- Building relationships online takes time, but if you can make genuine connections with like-minded men and women, it will go a long way in spreading the word about what you do. I have the most success with this through Instagram. Mix product/studio/at work photos with personal/heart posts. People want to know the person behind the business. Be yourself and don't be afraid to get a little bit vulnerable once in a while. Life as a business owner (or human being) is not perfect, so don't come off like it is. Inspiration and genuine connections come in the midst of messiness and shared struggles. Likewise, reach out to others you admire or feel a connection with. Leave a friendly comment and see if they respond.

(5) Collaborate with other Handmade Business Owners- Working with Jessica (for our latte sets) has been one of the smartest things I've ever done. I've seen many other business owners collaborate on projects together, too (like Kim & Lindsay or Jessi & Megan!) and there is just so much joy in seeing women pull their individual gifts and strengths together to make something totally unique and special. Plus, your fan base has the potential to grow immensely as your collaboration is shared with a new audience. 

I didn't write this because I think I have all the answers or am a business expert by any means. I am not. I am continually learning what works for me and my business and what doesn't, and I hope this is helpful to those of you who may be starting out with a handmade business or are thinking of doing so in the future.

If you have a handmade business, how have you found the most success in sharing what you do and promoting your brand? Feel free to share your experiences or any advice you have in the comments below!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

As a Kid

(You're welcome for these old, embarrassing, cheap-flash-camera photos.)

I've heard it said that what you enjoy doing as a kid is a good indication of what you'll be doing as an adult. I was just thinking about this earlier this week and for my life, it is so true.

Growing up, I always had my hands in some kind of craft project. I loved art so much that my mom bought paper and markers for my kindergarten Christmas gift exchange (though the poor kid who ended up with that gift was less than thrilled). I had an entrepreneurial heart from the beginning, setting up display tables at my grandma's house to sell my hand folded origami animals. On the rare occasion that a relative actually forked over cash to humor me (thanks uncle Jason!), I was elated. It's no wonder that I'm a handmade business owner today.

My mom grew up as the oldest of six kids and her siblings tell stories of how she used to make them play "school." She was always the teacher and because they were less than enthused about the whole situation, would often "act up" in class to make it more fun. My mom would get frustrated because she just wanted a perfect little class of students to teach. As an adult, she has spent a huge part of her life involved with children's ministry.

I can think of other's I know who are doing things with their lives that mirror what they loved as a kid. It's so fascinating to think that the passions that are planted in our hearts as little ones can morph into our life calling. 

What about you? Are there any resemblances between what you loved as a kid and what you are doing as an adult?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Beautiful Things

I secretly love working late at night, once it's dark outside and the world starts slowing down. I always have music playing and song lyrics pierce loudly through the quiet. I'm reminded that in the midst of our pain, mess, questions, longing, though we are just clay ourselves, He wants to make something beautiful with us. It's the very things that we struggle with that He uses to refine and shape us into the best version of ourselves.

Beautiful Things by Gungor on Grooveshark

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How the Influence Conference Has Changed My Life

Last week on the @influencenet instagram, they asked the question, "How has the Influence Conference changed your life?" I knew right away how I wanted to respond. The answer has been stirring in my heart so much recently, so I wanted to share it here today. The impact the conference and the women who are part of it have had on my life and the direction I want to go has been huge

Not only has my business grown immensely since attending the first conference a year and a half ago, but the Lord has given me true friends through the Influence community- so much so that I actually really struggled in leaving the conference last fall. I felt like I found "my people" and didn't have the same type of community at home.

Since then, God has been leading me in finding what I hope is just the beginning of a vibrant group of believers that I can share life with face to face. I value the relationships I've made through the internet SO MUCH, yet we all need people we can look in the eye on a regular basis without a computer screen between us. The Influence Conference has helped me see my need for that and has given me the courage to go wherever the Lord leads.

If you're thinking about attending the 2014 Influence Conference or are interested in learning more of what it's all about, head on over to their website for all the details (including the great lineup of speakers!). If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask.

Monday, February 24, 2014

(NEW) Cup of Love Tea Bowls & Sweetheart Dessert Plates

There are a few new items in the shop, all inspired by the Cup of Love Latte Mug! First up- the Cup of Love Tea Bowl.

Tea Bowls are not only perfect for warming your hands on a comforting cup of tea, but they're just the right size for indulging in a dish of ice cream or other sweet treat. Shop tea bowls here.

Next up- the Sweetheart Dessert Plate.

These plates are perfect for so many things- pastries, sandwiches, side salad, dessert. You'll want to reach for it again and again. Shop dessert plates here.

Last but not least, I've paired up the Cup of Love Latte Mug with the Sweetheart Dessert Plate for the perfect breakfast (or dessert) combination. 

The sweetheart plates are just the right size for a latte mug saucer and together with a mug, they make a great set for many meals. A breakfast pastry and latte? Check. Oatmeal and toast? Check. Soup and sandwich? Check. Coffee and dessert? You get the idea. This set is so versatile that it may have a permanent place on your kitchen table. Available as a two-piece set (one latte mug and one plate) here and a four-piece set (two latte mugs and two plates) here.

As always, all of these items are food, oven, microwave and dishwasher safe. Made from durable stoneware clay, they'll have a long, long life if properly cared for.

What would you enjoy eating most often if you had a latte mug and dessert plate set to use? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life in February

1. latte mugs // 2. some Valentine's Day orders // 3. wearing my favorite polka dot sweater
4. fresh batch of garden markers // 5. reading the Word ;) // 6. custom order latte mug with a secret message inside
7. key to my heart necklace // 8. new plates (coming later this week!) // 9. wintery walk

This time of year, I start itching for spring. Everything in life just seems so cold and colorless, and I can't wait to see green! Yet, I'm so thankful for a warm home and as fast as time goes, a new season will be here sooner than we think.

Happy Tuesday, friends!